Saturday, June 01, 2013

My Parish Steps into the Question of SSBs with Listening Sessions

Exterior view of my church
I'm pleased to provide a follow-up to my post from Sunday. Some more information has been published in the parish newsletter (which I received today) and is being printed as an insert in tomorrow's service leaflet.  You can read the full text here.  

There will be three "listening sessions," from June 8 to 16.

As I wrote in comments on my previous post, I had learned that these will not be "free-for-all" but structured conversations.  The parish leadership is asking all members to reflect on three questions in preparation for the sessions.  They are: 
  1. What occasions in your life have prompted you to seek the formal blessing of the church?
  2. Into what covenantal relationships have you entered?  And how did you mark those liturgically?
  3. How has the authority of Scripture impacted your decision making on important matters? Does the church you were raised in (i.e., your formative experience) affect your approach to Scripture?
I'm pleased to see those questions.  I think they are good ones, which should lead to some probing among all who attend the listening sessions. They are already motivating me to begin organizing my own thoughts. And I am comforted to know those are the questions that will organize the listening sessions. 

They also remind me of the sort of questions that were posted in the big Episcopal Church conference held in Atlanta back in March 2011 (which I also attended) to reflect on TEC's development of rites for same-sex blessings. Both are using questions designed to encourage reflection and dialogue, not "position statements."  Kudos to our parish leaders for following that model. 

Also, notice this: The sessions are being held in the sanctuary, not the parish hall.  The same was true of the listening sessions a couple years ago, when we were considering whether/how to reorganize our worship space.  I think it's no accident that the parish leaders have chosen to hold the conversations in our "holy space" and not in the parish hall.  I think being in that space calls us to be in attitude of prayer, reverence, and respect, even if we may have difficult things to say and difficult stories to share.  

I thank all who have shared this walk with me, and I hope you will continue to keep me and my parish in your prayers.  

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Blogger JCF said...

Prayers comin' atcha, Lisa! I look forward to hear more about your progress...

6/02/2013 7:17 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thank you, JCF. I seem to be back to blogging, so you'll probably hear more from me here. ;-)

6/02/2013 11:27 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Our rector's sermon today was straight from the lectionary, but it spoke to me deeply about where I've been in the past week ... and where our parish is heading in the next fortnight. Though the sermon didn't reference the upcoming "listening sessions," it sure seemed to point toward them. My spirit was so much "in the moment" that I can't recall any specific thing she said. The tenor seemed to be the need to order our lives around Jesus Christ, the need for the Spirit to guide our lives together, the need to deal gently with each other in Christian charity. And, yes, it made me weep a bit ... which was rather embarrassing, since I was right up front (in the chancel) as crucifer today. Sometimes I wish my soul wasn't so darn "soft" when I'm in church here; but I realize it's actually a Good Thing.

6/02/2013 11:35 PM  

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